Whether your a new driver on one with years of experience, it's always good to review safe driving habits. Even if you know what good habits are, there are often situations where you're put in a situation where you have to make a decision to drive, let someone else drive, pull over or call a cab.
The best way to stay focused while driving is to avoid fatigue. Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks. Stopping for food or beverages, taking time to pull over at a rest stop just to stretch your legs, staying overnight at a motel or local bed-and-breakfast, and sharing the driving are all good strategies for avoiding fatigue and staying alert behind the wheel. Driving when overtired is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
Share The Road
Warmer weather attracts different types of roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection of a car or truck, and collisions almost always result in injury.
If you expect to see motorcycles, you are more likely to detect them. Often we filter out things we don't expect to see. Look for motorcycles - especially at intersections.
Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorcycle, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in a much shorter distance than your vehicle.
When you see a motorcycle approaching, realize that it's easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the motorcycle and the fact that it is coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.
Pedestrians are just as vulnerable as motorcyclists and bicyclists. Things to remember as a driver:
- You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere - even in places where they are not supposed to be found.
- Pedestrians can be very hard to see - especially in bad weather or at night. You must keep a lookout and slow down if you can't see clearly.
- Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
- Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt.
- Don't assume that pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably. They may be physically or mentally impaired - or drunk.
- When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a "gap" in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that "gap", pedestrians may have moved into your intended path.
- Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active. Drive there like you would like people to drive in front of your own home.
Avoid Bad Driver Behaviors
The focus of any driver, at all times, should be driving. Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. Distracted driving can be anything that pulls your attention away from driving. The most obvious forms of distraction are cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
Set down some safety rules with your co-drivers before you hit the road. These rules should include refraining from activities that take your eyes and attention off the road. Insist that your co-drivers agree to make every effort to move to a safe place off of the road before using a cell phone—even in an emergency.
Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time.
Everybody aboard must agree to wear their seat belts every time they are riding or driving in your vehicle. If you’re not buckled up, you could be thrown through a window or into other passengers, sent skidding along the pavement, or be crushed under a vehicle in a crash. Wearing a seat belt is also the best defense against a drunk-driving related crash.
Every 51 minutes and 32 times a day, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. Be responsible and don’t drink and drive. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out.
Summer driving tips - Part 1: Before you hit the road
Summer driving tips - Part 2: Protect the kids
Summer driving tips - Part 4: Emergency roadside kit